Contextual Menus - Best Practices

7 Oct 2010 - 10:25pm
3 years ago
1 reply
1003 reads
Loc Ngo
2008

Hey all,  what are some of the better implementation of contextual tools you've used or seen?  Here's an example http://screencast.com/t/IKNENcUdm ,  I'm gathering a list of ideas and best practices.   Much appreciated.

Comments

8 Oct 2010 - 1:05pm
Chauncey Wilson
2007

Some of the things to consider for best practices might include:   1.  The number of menu items in the context menu (I've seen right-click menus in Windows products that are so long that the goal of saving time is negated by the length of the menu). 2.  Whether you disabled the items in the context menu or just present those that are really active in the current circumstance. 3.  Does the context menu get in the way of anything?  There are semi-transparent menus for example that let you look through the menu to keep your context. 4. What is the "context" that you refer to in the context menu?  Context can be what you are over, what you have selected, what mode you are in, etc.  The context may affect what best practices are applied.

5.  How large can the menu be? 6.  Is the menu offset properly? 7.  Can you access the functions in the context menu if you can't use a mouse or other pointing device? 8.  Are the items in the context menu redundant or not? 9.  How do I get help on context menu items? 10.Will the context menu get int he way of other things? 11. What items do you actually choose for context menus given that you can't present too many choices? 12.  Do you design the pop-up menus for learners or experts? For occasional or frequent users?  There is some research cited about context menus in Mayhew's 1993 book on principles and guidelines in software user interface design.

  There was quite a lot of work done in the late 1980s about how to design pop-up menus that are generally activated with the right mouse button.  Some of the questions above are ones that came out of that work and they still apply today.  There are other issues now with other types of menus (marking menus for example) and menus used on small mobile devices.

 
  On Fri, Oct 8, 2010 at 12:34 AM, Loc Ngo <locngo@gmail.com> wrote:

Hey all,  what are some of the better implementation of contextual tools you've used or seen?  Here's an example http://screencast.com/t/IKNENcUdm [1] ,  I'm gathering a list of ideas and best practices.   Much appreciated.

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